MOROCCO – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has lent the Moroccan banking group BMCE Bank of Africa US$156.56 million to support small businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis, through the Resillience Framework initiative. 

This is the first investment to be delivered under the EBRD’s coronavirus Resilience Framework that was set up to meet the immediate short-term liquidity and working capital needs of existing clients. 

The Framework is a key element in the EBRD’s Solidarity Package Covid-19 response and recovery programme. 

Under the agreement with Bank of Africa – BMCE Group the EBRD will provide a US$107.97 million loan for on-lending to corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises that are experiencing a decrease in activity, turnover and profitability, to help them address their liquidity needs. 

“We are very proud to roll out our swift support to the Moroccan economy by partnering with Bank of Africa – BMCE Group. This financial package is key for the resilience of Moroccan small businesses and for strengthening trade operations, which are much needed in this global crisis,” said Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, EBRD Director, Head of Morocco. 

In addition, the EBRD is increasing an existing uncommitted multi-currency trade finance limit by US$ 50 million to facilitate export and import transactions.  

“Our partnership with the EBRD was sealed several years ago and this new transaction will allow Bank of Africa BMCE Group to further strengthen its commitment to Moroccan companies, in particular to the refinancing of their foreign trade operations, as globally, markets are facing difficulties in terms of foreign exchange liquidity.” Brahim Benjelloun-Touimi, Executive General Manager of Bank of Africa – BMCE Group, said. 

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact present an unprecedented challenge to the regions where the EBRD invests. The Bank is providing immediate support to affected companies.  

As a first step, the EBRD unveiled a Resilience Framework for existing clients within its initial Solidarity Package, which was approved by its shareholders on 13 March. Responding to huge demand, the EBRD plans to increase the amount available under the emergency facility. 

Bank of Africa – BMCE Group is the third-largest bank in Morocco and listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange. The bank has been a partner of the EBRD since 2013, when a first trade finance facility was signed. 

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the EBRD has invested US$2.38 billion in Morocco through 64 projects.